Do you remember playing the game Truth or Dare at slumber parties? Most of my friends wanted the truths...not me. I chose dare. Why? I had a huge fear I would be asked that one infamous question. The one most girls have at least a silly story to answer with by the time they turn 16. The question? “When was your first kiss?”
I grew up in a small town, and had the same friends as toddler until senior year. I loved it, but with a close-knit group, my options for young love were limited. I also have a large extended family, so I was usually related to 50% of every group I would hang out with.
After high school, I met several cool guys my freshman year in college (at a major university) and I thought my first kiss would soon follow. The summer between freshman and sophomore year, I moved back home and was asked to play in a nearby church’s praise band. I met a guy in the band. He was a guitarist. I played bass. He asked me out. I was smitten.
He picked me up at my parent’s house wearing a red bandana and leather jacket. When we arrived back at my parent’s house later that night, I just knew it was going to happen. I was in the passenger seat when he reached over with his left hand...our faces got closer...and then he, ever so swiftly, opened my door from the inside for me to get out.
All this to say, I graduated college and graduate school with, you guessed it, a clean slate kissing history. I was fun, had great social skills, and had a family gene pool of smart, successful, beauty-queen-crowned women. So why did men not want to kiss me?
It was almost funny when the end of the dates (including blind ones) would come and I was left scratching my head. I’ll admit, sometimes I didn’t want the kiss and had something to do with the outcome. But the guys I did hope from...well, I receive lots of phone calls, texts, and instant messages from them, and then...poof!
I also received the “I want to guard your heart” talk and “I really enjoy talking to you so much and don’t want that to end” discussions. I certainly appreciated their respect for me, no doubt. But what became clear was that the more communication I had with them, the more emotionally invested I became. My heart was involved, physical contact or not. And I also began to realize it was my job to guard my heart, not theirs.
I was determined to not let this take over my self-confidence. God gave me assurance in my femininity and courage to meet new guy after new guy. I tried out all different approaches: he initiates everything, I initiate some, be his friend, don’t be his friend, be funny, don’t be funnier than him, etc.
I knew I was in no way more “intimidating” than any other girl. I believed I was attractive. So it had to be only one thing: God was placing his hedge of protection and perfect timing around me.
I also like to think my future husband has such a close relationship with God that he prayed no man touch me...
Well, at 27, it finally happened. I met a guy at a costume party, he asked me out, pursued me, and kissed me at the end of the 3rd date. It was sweet and was finally a reality! That man ended up not being the one for me. Believe me, I thought he “had to be” cause I waited so long...but he wasn’t.
What he did give me was a newfound confidence and a new chapter in my story. Funny thing though, women in their late twenties no longer ask about first kisses. They are usually too busy getting married and having their first, second, and third child.
Regardless, the kiss was not the main point- all that time before the kiss was. I had been given an amazing amount of time to focus on my relationship with Christ, my talents, school, job, family, friend relationships, lots of peaceful sleep, and no regrets.
I know there is no timeline in my life I have to live by. The media may make you think you have to go through A, B, and C in order to be a “woman” but that’s not true. Jesus never said you have to be asked out X amount of times, or kiss three or four guys before you can enter heaven.
Until recently, very few people in my life knew I had my first kiss at 27. I was scared to tell people, embarrassed they would think less of me. Can you imagine? A girl who had a pretty clean slate, ashamed to share her own unique dating story graced to her by her Creator? I had never looked down on women who had more descriptive pasts. In fact, I was encouraged by their humility and strength to learn from their experiences. So why was I so hard on myself?
But, the more I talked about it, the more confident I became. I also began to meet more beautiful and confident women who would confide in me their “late kiss” stories as well. We became a pact empowered.
Am I afraid a man will think less of me because of my lack of “experience”? Not anymore. I am 31 now and may or may not have been kissed again since the breakup at 27. I have dated more and continue to learn about everyone’s unique path.
In the midst of dating and waiting for the “right one,” I hold fast to this truth: I am a woman loved, adored, saved, and handpicked by my Savior. He constantly pursues me, never leaves my heart or side, and He will always be the most important and romantic One in my life.
Confessions of a Perpetual-Prodigal Dater
Mandy Smith is a joyful 30-something single living in GA. She is a full-time Speech-Language Pathologist. Her loves include Jesus, her family and friends, creativity, playing guitar and singing, coffee, laughing, and of course, writing! You can read more of her writing on her website www.myjoyousheart.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.